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What does being a Freemason mean?

Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest fraternal organizations. It is a sociable society of men banding together to make the world a better place. The core values of Freemasonry are brotherly love, relief, and truth.

Masons meet in Lodges. A Lodge is a meeting place and each has its own rituals, traditions, and governance. To become a Freemason, one must be recommended by a current Mason, go through an interview process, and demonstrate a belief in a Supreme Being.

The History of Freemasonry

The precise origins of Freemasonry are unknown, but it is widely accepted that it arose from the stonemasons’ guilds during the Middle Ages. The first recorded mention of the masons’ craft occurs in the Regius Poem, thought to have been written in 1390: The hope of man lies in his Maker; let us adore Him. We know now what sort of people were our forebears and craftsmen… they built cathedrals and bridges that defy time itself. Of these men’s work – all over England – there stands today more witness than any writing could provide; these remain when all their words are dead…No stonemason could be ignorant of Him on pain of death; for all their craft depends on His will…if any man wished to become a master mason he had first to be admitted as an apprentice by another master mason. He would then serve for seven years without pay…To ensure that all went well both day and night at his construction site, he had also to confess his faith in God before he began work each morning.. The appendix to Anderson’s Constitutions contains sixty-two Old Charges or manuscripts detailing masonic customs and obligations dating back to the fourteenth century. Although most of them contain some variations on common themes, there can be little doubt that they reflect earlier practices and beliefs. In 1717 four lodges in London joined to form the first Grand Lodge of England (GLE), adopting as their basic rule-book the Constitutions of Dr. James Anderson..

What Masons Do

A common misperception is that Masons meet solely for ritualistic purposes. In reality, however, while ritual plays an important role in maintaining tradition and strengthening fraternity bonds among members, it represents only a small portion of what Masons do.. Some charitable activities are obvious examples of this kind of work such as providing funding for eye research or supporting local food banks. Other activities are less visible such as tutoring at-risk youth or providing disaster relief..

There are three degrees in Freemasonry: Entered Apprentice, Fellow Crafts, and Master Mason — each with its own unique symbolism and significance.. Becoming a Mason requires time spent learning about different aspects of Masonic philosophy as well as demonstrating a willingness to live according to certain universal principles such as honor, compassion for others less fortunate than oneself, sound judgment based upon logic rather than emotion..

While much about Freemasonry remains veiled in secrecy — specifically those parts which pertain exclusively to member interactions with one another — many Masons openly discuss their membership within the organization both with family members and friends who are not members themselves..

If you’re interested in learning more about Freemasonry or potentially becoming a member yourself, the best way to do so is to get in touch with your local lodge. Every lodge is autonomous but all share similar goals and principles.

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